Plant-based meat has been a bit of a buzzword over the past few years, and it came up twice in headlines in early November 2020. McDonald’s announced they will soon offer an in-house plant-based burger, the ‘McPlant’, and other meat-alternative menu items like a plant-based chicken sandwich and breakfast sandwiches as well.

Another big player to step into the plant-based arena last week wass Pizza Hut. The pizza chain became the first to have a plant-based meat alternative menu item (well, topping) when they announced a new partnership with Beyond Meat.

According to CivicScience data, plant-based meat adoption (specifically the two main brands of burgers, Impossible and Beyond Meat) has been steady over the past several months. Deep into a pandemic, perhaps people aren’t venturing into anything too unknown by way of food right now. 

All told though, both plant-based burger brands are neck and neck in favorability.

Same with interest in buying plant-based products at a burger (or other fast food) joint. Thirty-two percent of people are at least somewhat interested in doing so, and this was the same figure back in July.

Still, 32% is a substantial number of people who report their very or somewhat likely to try plant-based menu items at fast food chains at large.

Interest in the new offerings looks really good, though slightly more so for McDonald’s.

Right out the gate, 20% of Americans 13 and older report they are at least somewhat likely to try McDonald’s ‘McPlant’ burger, while 14% have a likelihood of checking out Pizza Hut’s meat-free Italian sausage pizza topping.

Among just McDonald’s and Pizza Hut favorables, the likelihood to try these new items jumps by five percentage points for each.

While there is overall more interest in McDonald’s new plant-based offering, in both cases, Gen Z reports being the most likely to try both.

There is the smallest gap between age groups for McDonald’s though: Americans up to age 64 still show a lot of interest.

Appeal Beyond Vegetarianism 

As unveiled before, it’s no secret that the plant-based meat trend is not one just for vegetarians. It’s a health conscious trend looking at the future, and by many seen as the eco-conscious choice in a changing world.

While vegetarians are way more interested in these menu offerings than the non-veg crowd, it’s always telling to see the interest that is there among carnivores.

Notable though and encouraging for the strategy people behind the yellow arches: vegetarians are twice as likely to try McDonald’s new McPlant burger than Pizza Hut’s faux sausage pizza. 

Vegans, though a small percentage of the population, seem more amped about Pizza Hut’s pizza. Better hope that’s vegan cheese.

Overall, health may be the goal in trying non-meat items at a fast food restaurant. Those who would try either chain’s respective addition(s) are more likely to deem themselves somewhat to very unhealthy.

Further analysis proves that theory out, especially for those most likely to try plant-based food at McDonald’s. Those who say healthy options are most important to them when dining out over-index in interest. Same can be said for those interested in Pizza Hut’s new offering as well, just not to the same degree. It better be fast, though. What does matter most to these folks is speed.

While McDonald’s announced the ‘McPlant’ will be a proprietary product developed by them, many speculated that Beyond Meat will end up being the supplier.  

Regardless, it looks like those who are most likely to try the ‘McPlant’ are already keen on Beyond Meat. The new product offerings will go beyond well for them, no doubt growing their customer (and loyalty) base.